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What Exactly "Breaks the Fast"? (Leangains)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 12, 2012 at 6:26 PM

My work schedule requires me to lift between 530 and 8 pm but I don't eat after 10pm or so, so I like to eat at least something in the afternoon before training. Normally I eat an ounce or so of almonds and drink some BCAA closer to the gym time.

So, what is everyone's impression? Would a small snack without carbs mean a small blip out of "fasted state" and by 3 hours later I would be technically "fasted" again for my workout, or are even Almonds "breaking" my fast and spoiling the effects of fasted training?

8634d4988ced45a68e2a79e69cc01835

(1617)

on October 15, 2012
at 01:49 PM

Not sure where I read it, quite frankly. And if you're eating protein, you aren't fasting. Eating while fasting is not fasting.

4164a77c7ccf4839ec7f1e665d27cc6d

(1085)

on October 12, 2012
at 08:05 PM

NE, do you recall where you read to avoid protein? That seems to differ from what Martin has found ( http://www.leangains.com/2009/12/pre-workout-protein-boosts-metabolism.html ) and from what I have read on sites like T-Nation. If there is another side to the story I would be interested in taking a look.

4164a77c7ccf4839ec7f1e665d27cc6d

(1085)

on October 12, 2012
at 07:41 PM

FWIW - I work in a corporate environment and I use the one pre-workout meal approach. For me, this means I eat something like 5 oz of Tuna or Sardines around 2pm (I consider it a late lunch) and I workout 3-4 hours later, work permitting. I dont feel hungry throughout the day and I have more than enough energy for my workouts.

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5 Answers

2
B72e976b2df9e7f01315830062a5209c

(1365)

on October 12, 2012
at 07:06 PM

I don't think the strict regimented fasting is 100% necessary, else Martin wouldn't recommend taking in BCAA's pre-workout.

What I think it does is twofold:

A) You get the natural benefits of IF (autophagy, reduced appetite, less hunger swings, etc).

B) If you lift at the end of a fast it's MUCH easier to eat most of your daily calories in the PWO window, which is awesome for muscle gain and better for not putting on fat.

The combination of the two is why Martin's system is so good at doing body recomposition without massive gain/bulk cycles.

2
F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on October 12, 2012
at 06:39 PM

Dietary fasting isn't a binary switch. As Berkhan states in his blog, a small amount of calories (from BCAA, creamers, etc) doesn't destroy the positive effects of the fast. I think the most important thing is to avoid eating so much that your body starts to replenish significant amounts of glycogen from food. How much is that? I haven't the slightest clue.

1
4164a77c7ccf4839ec7f1e665d27cc6d

(1085)

on October 12, 2012
at 07:32 PM

From what I have read and my own personal experience and success with Leangains, I would break the fast with a source of protein like Tuna--which naturally provides you your BCAA's to prevent muscle wasting.

Berkhan re: pre-workout meals:

This "pre-workout" meal is not counted towards the feeding phase. Technically, training is not completely fasted - that would be detrimental. The pre-workout protein intake, with its stimulatory effect on protein synthesis and metabolism, is a crucial compromise to optimize results. The 8-hour feeding phase starts with the post-workout meal.

For those who wish to have one pre-workout meal:

Pre-workout meal. Approximately 20-25% of daily total calorie intake.

More about your approach:

The majority of your daily calorie intake is consumed in the post-workout period. Depending on setup, this means that approximately 95-99% (fasted training), 80% (one pre-workout meal) or 60% (two pre-workout meals) of your daily calorie intake is consumed after training.

Hope this helps.

4164a77c7ccf4839ec7f1e665d27cc6d

(1085)

on October 12, 2012
at 07:41 PM

FWIW - I work in a corporate environment and I use the one pre-workout meal approach. For me, this means I eat something like 5 oz of Tuna or Sardines around 2pm (I consider it a late lunch) and I workout 3-4 hours later, work permitting. I dont feel hungry throughout the day and I have more than enough energy for my workouts.

0
0591e64b07bd4bf3d1ed949a3d9ab96c

on October 22, 2012
at 05:36 AM

I'm of the view that this is breaking the fast and you're essentially in a fed state. There's a point when you just can't pretend you're still in a fasted state. In my mind, that's any more than 100 or so calories. Still, go ahead and eat preworkout on Leangains. You don't have to do fasted training.

0
8634d4988ced45a68e2a79e69cc01835

(1617)

on October 12, 2012
at 06:54 PM

I've tried to read up on that myself. I'm an 8 - 5 person workwise too, and being female, going from 9:30pm the night before until 6pm the next day when I workout is a loooong fast. The only thing I have all day is coffee with 1/2 and 1/2 (grass-fed). When I get home at 5 I break the fast with a snack. I eat dinner at 7 or 8pm so waiting until then would be nuts since I've been doing this daily.

From what I've read, pure fats don't break it (small amounts). Heavy cream in coffee or coconut oil, bulletproof coffee, whatever. You want to avoid sugar, protein, and carbs from what I've seen.

4164a77c7ccf4839ec7f1e665d27cc6d

(1085)

on October 12, 2012
at 08:05 PM

NE, do you recall where you read to avoid protein? That seems to differ from what Martin has found ( http://www.leangains.com/2009/12/pre-workout-protein-boosts-metabolism.html ) and from what I have read on sites like T-Nation. If there is another side to the story I would be interested in taking a look.

8634d4988ced45a68e2a79e69cc01835

(1617)

on October 15, 2012
at 01:49 PM

Not sure where I read it, quite frankly. And if you're eating protein, you aren't fasting. Eating while fasting is not fasting.

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